Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Day in Ouray and Ridgway

Tuesday, June 10, was a beautiful day to get outside. It had been awhile since we had visited Ouray and the kids were wanting to go to the Ouray town park, so we drove on 58P and Last Dollar Road (a 4-wheel drive "shortcut" that takes longer to get to highway 62). The only complaint we had was the wind. It was as windy as the Oklahoma panhandle.

For a drastic change of scenery, we decided to see how far we could get into Yankee Boy Basin. I had read that they hadn't made much progress plowing because of getting over 20 feet of snow this winter. The snow is so high that the road crews have been plowing by memory in many areas.

An avalanche has wiped out the Atlas Mill Campground. This is where we camped last August when Jay hiked Mt. Sneffels. We saw a lot of debris from avalanches along the road and in one area they had to do a major cleanup with big trees piled on both sides of the road.

This is Twin Falls in Yankee Boy Basin. This is one of my favorite places. The first time I was in Yankee Boy Basin I was 14 years old. My dad wanted to take a Jeep tour with one of the places in Ouray. I remember our driver telling us interesting facts that we didn't know, like the pink snow that looks like watermelon even tastes like watermelon, but you'd better not eat because it would cause a severe case of dysentry. I also remember my brother and I picking a handful of wildflowers right before the tour guide said to be sure not to pick any wildflowers as there could be a $500 fine and he went on to explain how long it takes for plants to recover in the alpine tundra. Ryan and I quickly ditched those flowers to the side! After that trip, my dad decided he could drive the Jeep trails so we started renting Jeeps while on vacation. Now that Jay and I have a Rubicon and an old CJ-7, we're ready for all of this snow to melt so we can enjoy the Jeep trails.

This is crazy! The road was plowed up to the public outdoor toilet. The snow is melting fast, but I think it's going to take a little bit longer before it's all gone. Yankee Boy is one of the best places to see Colorado wildflowers and I'm wondering how long it will be before they can bloom this year. Signs of fall usually start in mid to late August up there, so summer is going to be very short above 10,000 feet this year.

We drove back to Ridgway for dinner. Maralee wanted to play at the Ridgway town park, and I took this picture of Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain. This is the park where they did the hangings in the movie True Grit.

We were starving and had a good dinner at the True Grit Cafe. Our waitress forgot to bring us our soup and salad before our meal came, so she gave us free dessert.

I took these videos at the Ouray town park. This is the first time Garrett and Savanna have ever "dropped in" which apparently is a big deal in skateboarding. The skatepark in Ouray is a little easier to try something new like this than the Telluride skatepark.

Maralee was also brave in sliding down the pole at the playground by herself for the first time.


CigarSmokingMan said...

That scenery's not too shabby. Looks like you guys had a great time.

julie said...

Hope all that snow means plenty of water in the wells! :) Great outing, Lisa!